iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum-Wi-Fi connected mapping reviews


With its high efficiency filter, the iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum-Wi-Fi connected mapping promises to capture and trap up to 99% of airborne particles that can cause asthma, irritation, and itchiness. It even collects odor particles, which can leave behind a stale smell in your home. Instead, you’ll find your carpet fibers cleaned to such perfection, you’ll be able to distinctly smell a fresher, cleaner scent in your home. Reveal more in iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum-Wi-Fi connected mapping reviews.

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Pros & Cons


  • Good cleaning performance overall, 95% removal score
  • Wifi-connectivity with smartphone app control
  • Maps spaces as it cleans for better navigation


  • Struggles with fine debris on carpeted floors
  • A little loud when running on hardwoods and low pile carpet

In the box

  • iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum
  • Charging dock
  • Charging cable
  • HEPA filter
  • 2x counter-rotating multi-surface brushrolls
  • 1x side brush (already on the vacuum)
  • User guide

Specifications – iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum-Wi-Fi connected mapping

  • Type Robot
  • Manufacturer iRobot
  • Model Roomba 981
  • Length (inches) 13.8
  • Width (inches) 13.8
  • Height (inches) 3.6
  • Weight (pounds) 8.7
  • Floor Type All (indoor)
  • Battery 3,300 mAh
  • Dust Bin Capacity 0.3 L
  • Cordless Yes
  • Bagless Yes
  • Returns Varies by retailer
  • Warranty 1-Year limited

Compare iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum-Wi-Fi connected mapping vs Eufy RoboVac 11S


iRobot Roomba 981Roborock S6 PureEufy RoboVac 11sEufy RoboVac 11S MAX
Max runtime120 min180 min100 min100 min
Charge time180 min300 min480 min300 min
Battery typeLi-ionLi-ionLi-ionLi-ion
Battery capacity3000 mAh5200 mAh2600 mAh2600 mAh


iRobot Roomba 981Roborock S6 PureEufy RoboVac 11sEufy RoboVac 11S MAX
Cleaning area180 m2250 m2120 m2120 m2
Sound level58 dB69 dB55 dB55 dB
Suction power1700 Pa2000 Pa1300 Pa2000 Pa
Maximum climbing height2.0 cm2.0 cm1.7 cm1.6 cm
Power58 w15 w40 w
Number of cleaning modes44

Other information

iRobot Roomba 981Roborock S6 PureEufy RoboVac 11sEufy RoboVac 11S MAX
Dustbin capacity0.5 l0.46 l0.6 l0.6 l
Type of filterHEPAHigh-PerformanceHEPA
Automatic dirt disposalYesNoNoNo

Dimensions and weight

iRobot Roomba 981Roborock S6 PureEufy RoboVac 11sEufy RoboVac 11S MAX
Height9.2 cm9.6 cm7.2 cm7.2 cm
Width35.1 cm35.0 cm33.0 cm32.5 cm
Depth35.1 cm35.0 cm33.0 cm32.5 cm
Weight4.0 kg3.2 kg2.6 kg2.7 kg

Who is this for?

Smart control: You can control this robot using your smartphone and the iRobot Home app or even pair it up with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice-controlled cleaning cycles. Digital maps show where the Roomba has cleaned and can also be used to help identify any trouble areas in your home.

Great cleaning performance: Overall, this Roomba is top-notch when it comes to cleaning performance. The results on hardwoods were flawless and still good for carpet tests as well. The only real spot where it struggled was cleaning sugar from high pile carpet, but this feels relatively minor in the scheme of overall performance testing.

Advanced navigation: The 981 navigates in straighter lines and is also better at avoiding obstacles, compared to most robot vacuums without an on-board camera.

Annual recurring costs of iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum-Wi-Fi connected mapping

The iRobot Roomba 981 has quite a few parts that need to be replaced regularly.

  • HEPA filter: The HEPA filter should be replaced every two months.
  • Rubber brushrolls: The rubber brushrolls can be replaced every six to 12 months.
  • Front caster wheel: The wheel should be replaced every 12 months.

You can buy each part separately, or purchase a “Replenishment Kit” from the manufacturer that includes brushrolls, three filters and two side brushes. While iRobot doesn’t indicate how often the side brushes should be replaced, you should do so when they are visibly worn.

iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum-Wi-Fi connected mapping reviews


The Roomba 981 has a bronze top cover and matte black sides. The 2-tone look is simple and sleek with an all-black charging dock. The iRobot 981 has a great build quality. Its body is made of hard plastic, with a glossy top and rubber wheels. The two brushrolls are also made of rubber and rotate in opposite directions. The dirt compartment feels fairly sturdy and is partly made of see-through red plastic.


The iRobot Roomba 981 is a little bigger than your standard size robot vacuum, coming in at 13.9 x 13.9 x 3.58. It’s slightly wider and higher than many other models on the market right now, but that’s due to its intense range of pick up, and a battery life that powers through.

The Roomba 981 is about the size of any midsize robot vacuum. Exact dimensions are:

  • Width: 13.9″ diameter
  • Height: 3.6″ tall
  • Weight: 8.7 pounds


There is a spinning 3-arm brush on the side of the vacuum which captures debris along corners and edges and pulls that debris into the cleaning path of the brushroll. The underside of the 981 has a dual rubberized brushroll with two large wheels located at each end of the brushroll.

It has two multi-service rubber brushes to grab everything from small dust to large debris, carpets, and hard floors. The first brush loosens dirt while the second brush pulls it into the Roomba. Debris hiding in corners or along wall edges is swept into the cleaning path by the specially designed “edge sweeping brush” to be taken from your floors.

Other feature – iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum-Wi-Fi connected mapping

HEPA filter: uses a traditional HEPA filter, designed to capture particulate down to 0.3 microns

Dust Bin: releases from the side of the vacuum and can be emptied directly into the trash can; also houses the HEPA filter.

The iRobot Roomba 981 has a good-sized dirt compartment for a robot vacuum. Sensors detect when it’s full and notify you with an indicator light on top of the vacuum or through the companion app. The dirt compartment cover won’t close unless a HEPA filter is inserted.

Charging base: standard charger; plugs into the wall and acts as a navigational beacon for the robot to return to after completing a cleaning run

Filter for the Roomba 981 robot vacuum

Charging & run time

This robotic vacuum cleaner features a lithium-ion battery with roughly 6-120 minutes of charge on a full cycle. The exact time will depend on many things, including the age of the battery, the amount of cleaning needed, and the surface being cleaned. For example, the runtime will be significantly reduced on thick carpet. There is an eco mode to extend the time between charges, with at least 180 minutes recommended to get the battery back to full charge.


It’s kitted out with iAdapt 2.0 navigation and vSlam technology, which work together in harmony to map your home’s entire surroundings to get the best clean it can, whilst ensuring it never rolls into your walls or furniture.

To do this as precisely as possible, the iRobot Roomba 981 will navigate through your home in neat rows, rather than using a random pattern. This allows the Roomba to logically clean through your home without missing a spot. 

Connect with Braava Jet

With Imprint® Link Technology, the Roomba® 981 robot vacuum and Braava jet® m6 robot mop can team up to vacuum then mop automatically in perfect sequence, giving your floors a comprehensive clean with just a voice command* or by using the iRobot® HOME app.

Voice Control

The Roomba 981 can also suggest cleaning schedules based on your cleaning habits and busiest times. The robot can also provide recommendations for things you might not even have thought of. Like extra cleaning during pet shedding season or allergy season, the app will update your robots with the latest software, so you always have access to the news features.

With smart home compatibility through Google assistant and Alexa enabled devices, including the Amazon Echo, the Echo Dot, and Echo Spot, you can clean without even lifting a finger. Say, “Alexa tell Roomba to clean,” and the robot will begin cleaning your home at the sound of your voice.


The iRobot 981’s battery performance is excellent. Set to its most powerful suction mode, it provides about one hour of continuous cleaning time. In ‘Eco-Mode’, which is its most conservative mode, it lasts for roughly two hours. However, in its default ‘Automatic’ mode, it automatically adjusts its suction power depending on what surface it’s cleaning and how dirty it is, so the actual battery life may vary. It takes a little more than two hours to recharge, which is longer than the iRobot Roomba 960.


The iRobot Roomba 981 has good automation features. It has a camera on top to help it keep track of its location and move around obstacles. You can use its companion app to start a cleaning job, make a cleaning schedule, and pilot it remotely. There’s also an edge clean setting, where the vacuum does another pass along walls and furniture at the end of a job. The app can notify you when the dirt compartment is full, and you can choose to have it return to its dock when that happens, or just continue cleaning.

After a cleaning session, you see a map of the area it cleaned in the app, but unlike iRobot vacuums with more advanced navigation systems, like the iRobot Roomba S9, you can’t use it to set virtual boundary markers.

iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum-Wi-Fi connected mapping performance reviews

Here’s a full rundown of the performance of the Roomba 980 robot vacuum:

  • Overview 95%
  • Hardwood 100%
  • Low Carpet 97%
  • High Carpet 87%

Low Pile Carpet

When tested on low pile carpet, the results were still quite good. Here, it captured 100% of the cereal, kitty litter, and rice.

Sugar was a bit trickier and it only captured 89%, due largely to sugar particles sinking into the carpet fibers.

  • Cereal 100%
  • Kitty Litter 100%
  • Rice 100%
  • Sugar 89%

Based on these initial numbers, we decided to run the 980 one more time over the carpet and it was able to clean 8% more sugar than the first time, only leaving 3% of sugar still on the floor.

Between the two runs, I was impressed with the performance of the 980 on low pile carpet.

iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum-Wi-Fi connected mapping reviews -  low carpet cleaning tests

Hardwood Floor

On hardwood floors, the Roomba 980 was a pro and captured 100% of all debris tested against.

Cereal 100%

Kitty Litter 100%

Rice 100%

Sugar 100%

iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum-Wi-Fi connected mapping reviews - hardwood cleaning tests

High Pile Carpet

For low pile carpet, the 980 continued to dominate against cereal, kitty litter, and rise. This go-round the 980 only captured approx. 47% of the sugar.

I noticed the vacuum clogging up a bit with the sugar during these tests so we decided not to give it a second pass here.

While it’s a bit unclear what caused the issue with sugar on high pile carpet and not low pile carpet, these results are still worth documenting.

  • Cereal 100%
  • Kitty Litter 100%
  • Rice 100%
  • Sugar 47%
iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum-Wi-Fi connected mapping reviews- carpet tests

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